Coating & Laminating

Emerson & Renwick order secured for Reverse Gravure Coating Line to China

included an ISO 5 (Class 100) on-machine environment from unwind to rewind, including dryers, non-stop operation by use of automatic unwind and rewind reel changes, two-side, in-line coat weight measurement of each layer and in-line visual inspection prior to winding using high resolution camera arrays for detection of micro imperfections.

identified the need for an improved method of producing optically clear components used in touchscreen applications. They approached UK based Emerson &


Renwick (E&R), designers and manufacturers of Custom-built Coating and Laminating Solutions, regarding the supply of a production tool (device) with the capability of applying three coated layers to both sides of a polymer film. The client provided a very demanding user

requirement specification with a strong emphasis placed on the highest standards of optical clarity, overall product consistency and yield. In order to achieve these criteria in the most practical manner the process needed to be executed in a single pass though the machine, which minimised potential damage

company based in China, manufacturing components for the electronics display industries,

to sensitive layers and materials handling, both of which were the main contributors to yield losses to date. Using many years of experience in providing similar solutions the requirement was analysed by E&R and several solutions were considered before an initial layout concept decided upon. Each coated layer had a thickness ranging

from as low as 100 nanometres up to 1 micron and the reverse-kiss gravure technique was selected with air flotation drying to avoid contact with wet surfaces. This concept was presented to the client and subsequently refined through regular discussions and a design created which fulfilled the user requirements and which also included some further enhancements at the suggestion of E&R. The basic machine arrangement included

three two side coating stations with three air flotation dryers. Other significant features

CHALLENGES OF MANUFACTURING THROUGH COVID -19 The challenges continued through execution of the project. Starting with an already compressed delivery schedule COVID 19 struck at the mid-point, initially with China being placed on lockdown and the subsequent disruptions to normal communications. UK operations continued with up-to-date procedures adhered to for protection of the workforce and a flexible approach adopted elsewhere to ensure progress continued according to schedule. Regular progress meetings were held with the Customer by internet conferencing to ensure they were always kept informed. A full program of Customer witnessed

Factory Acceptance Trials (FAT) was an original contractual obligation but once again the pandemic made normal practices impossible YY186537B. The machine was partially assembled in the E&R assembly hall and the trials were conducted without the physical presence of the Customer but by using internet video and conferencing they were able to witness the procedures remotely and with minimum disruption to the process. With the FAT successfully completed the machine was disassembled and packed and despite all the obstacles encountered along the way, shipped according to schedule. At time of writing the line is being installed by our E&R China team based from Shaukeiwan.


July/ August 2020

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